12 December 2019 | 10 Comments
Over Thanksgiving, I heard about the Instagram account for the US National Park Service. It features a series of beautiful photos, but with a twist: Almost ever photo is accompanied by a clever post that combines humor with fun facts about nature and wildlife. As the result of this brilliant combination, each post generates tens of thousands of likes, and the account is followed by more than 2 million people.
This strategy made me wonder about the various approaches other companies use on Instagram (the social platform that I initially discussed when I started using it in early 2018). I wanted to compare apples to apples as best I could, so I asked followers for companies that share Stonemaier Games’ principles and goals (in that they only release a few new games each year and have existed for at least a few years, focus on visuals and inclusivity, attempt innovative strategies, active on social media, try to put fans first, etc).
The following list contains many such tabletop game publishers in order of Instagram followers, followed by a summary and commentary. Hopefully these methods will give you some ideas for your Instagram strategy!
Stats: 19,276 followers, ~600 likes/post, ~30 comments/post
Strategy: I post a pretty wide variety of photos: Most are of games I’m playing by other publishers, some are glimpses into my personal life (cats, adventures, food, humor), and the rest are photos of our games (usually photos of them being played, but sometimes I share a peek behind the current at the process or future releases). I try to end almost every post with a question to followers about favorites games, recent plays, or commonalities.
James Hudson (Druid City Games and Skybound Games)
Stats: 13,461 followers, ~200 likes/post, ~10 comments/post
Strategy: James posts a mix of photos of his games and media projects, photos of himself and his family, and photos of games from other publishers he’s playing.
Stats: 12,303 followers, ~400 likes/post, ~10 comments/post
Strategy: High-quality photos of their games (mostly staged shots plus a few photos of the games being played), some “enter to win” campaigns, and photos of the booth/volunteers/staff at conventions.
Stats: 7,747 followers, ~160 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: Staged, highly-quality photos of their products, typically with a singular focus on one specific component per photo.
Stats: 5,602 followers, ~150 likes/post, posts either seem to have no comments or 50+ comments
Strategy: CGE posts a lot of photos related to the current season (their recent feed is full of gift-wrapped games and questions to readers about “what’s in the box”), as well as some photos of their games being played, their staff, and a few behind-the scenes photos.
Stats: 5,155 followers, ~400 likes/post, ~15 comments/post
Strategy: Lots of photos of digital art, photos of their games being played and component shots, and photos of their staff and volunteers at conventions. They also put text on many images to remind customers of upcoming dates and deadlines.
Stats: 4,049 followers, ~300 likes/post, ~10 comments/post
Strategy: Almost all photos of beautiful miniatures from their games.
Stats: 3,945 followers, ~400 likes/post, ~15 comments/post
Strategy: Nicely staged component photos from their games.
Stats: 3,833 followers, ~100 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: A focus on revealing different characters and elements of new and existing Plaid Hat Games, as well as some photos of their staff/desigers.
Stats: 3,080 followers, ~250 likes/post, ~10 comments/post
Strategy: Lots of photos of the art and components in their games, as well as some photos from conventions. They also did a fun reveal of an upcoming game by dividing it into 6 separate images that piece together to form a cohesive whole.
Stats: 3,013 followers, ~250 likes/post, ~20 comments/post
Strategy: A mix of announcements for their launches/pre-orders, prototype and behind-the-scenes photos, photos of their games on tables, and some personal photos. And yes, that’s me in the photo on the right–I got to meet Shem at Counter Culture in Wellington, New Zealand!
Stats: 2,889 followers, ~150 likes/post, ~10 comments/post
Strategy: It’s pretty much a mix of 66% photos of their games and 33% photos of games from other publishers.
Stats: 2,287 followers, ~75 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: A mix of photos from their games (more during active campaigns), photos of other games they’re playing, and photos of Conor.
Stats: 2,167 followers, ~125 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: Mostly photos of their games (box shots and gameplay), as well as some photos from conventions.
Stats: 1,875 followers, ~100 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: Staged photos of their beautiful games and components, usually with the name of the game somewhere in the photo.
Stats: 1,654 followers, ~75 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: Seasonal promotional posts, photos of people playing their games, and nice close-up photos of their game components.
Stats: 1,190 followers, ~75 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: A mix of close-up photos of their games, photos of their games being played, and games from other publishers.
Stats: 1,026 followers, ~75 likes/post, ~5 comments/post
Strategy: Quite a few photos of their game components interacting with non-game environments.
Summary and Commentary
It was really interesting to compile this list. Overall, it seems that the following approaches work well to increase and engage followers:
- Share a variety of photos, not just one type (and not just photos of your company’s products).
- Actively invite engagement by asking questions about preferences and guessing games.
- Post consistently, not sporadically.
You may have noticed that I listed 19 companies in this post, so where’s the 20th? That’s you! I’d love to hear about Instagram approach (or any Instagram strategies you enjoy) in the comments below. Did I miss any companies that you consider to share Stonemaier Games’ principles and goals? [Update: I think Orange Nebula and Pull the Pin Games should have been on this list.]
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